Using ISABPA for Proactive and Reactive Work with ISA Server – Part 2 of 2

1. Introduction


This week we launched ISA BPA V7 and this is a great opportunity to continue the explanation on how ISABPA can be useful for proactive and reactive work. Last session I explained how you can use ISA BPA for proactive work with ISA Server. This session will explain the benefits of using ISABPA while troubleshooting an issue.


2. ISA Data Packager


Besides the ISABPA itself, when you install this tool a group of programs is created within Microsoft ISA Server group as you can see in Figure 1:


Figure 1 – Tools that are installed by ISA BPA.


ISA Data Packager is a data gathering tool that can assist you to collect a set of data in one single shot. Let’s use as an example a scenario where user can’t access certain web sites. You can launch the ISA Data Packager and the first screen will present you the templates that are available:



Figure 2 – ISA Templates.


The template that you will choose will depend on the scenario that you are dealing with; here are some examples of usability of the main templates:




Unable to access Internet

Web Proxy and Web Publishing

Unable to access some parts of the web site

Get prompt for authentication when accessing a web site

OWA Exchange Publishing rule not working

Sharepoint Publishing rule no working

Unable to establish a VPN Site to Site


Unable to connect from a client to ISA using PPTP or L2TP


When I open my ISA Console I receive a 0x800 Error and nothing shows up

ISA Administration

ISA Console is crashing

Firewall Policy doesn’t show the rules

Monitoring / Configuration shows one node is not out of Sync

Configuration Storage Server

When accessing Internet Firewall Client turns red.

Firewall Client (NEW in ISABPA7)

Collect data from ISA Server to review the configuration later (no issue to reproduce)

Basic Repro and Static Configuration


Next step is to choose the template according to the scenario, for this example I’m going to chose Web Proxy and Web Publishing. After select and click Next you will see the following screen:



Figure 3 – Summary of the default selections


A set of options are selected by default when you choose the template, those options will vary according to the template that was previously selected. Notice that ISAInfo Report is not selected, which is something that is very useful since with this information you will be able to review all the details from this particular ISA box. In case you want to add that in your data collection you just need to click Modify Options and the following screen will appear:



Figure 4 – Changing default Options.


Here are some other guidelines about this screen:

·         If you are having issues such as prompt for authentication when browsing internet, or ISA Server losing the secure channel with the DC, make sure to enable the option Netlogon Logging.

·         If you are not dealing with Performance issue, disable the option Performance Monitor Snapshot.

·         If you are using MSDE Database for logging and you want to collect data from it, select MSDE Error Logs.

·         Change Tracking is NEW in ISABPA7.


After making the selection, click Start Data Collection and wait until the option press space bar to continue appears as shown in Figure 5:



Figure 5 – Starting capture.


At this point you should go to the workstation that is facing the problem and reproduce the issue that you are having. After reproduce the issue press space bar again in the collecting data window and wait until the CAB is generated.


3. Now What?


ISA Data Packager Creates a file called ISAPackage.CAB, by default located in the desktop. This file contains the following folder / files:







This is the ISA Data Packager Log that has information about the moment of the data collection. You will use this file to troubleshoot issues where the Data Packager failed to run for example.


Verbose logging for ISA Data Packager, also used to troubleshoot ISA Data Packager itself.



This is the ISA BPA Health Check report that you can load using the ISA BPA Tool.


Log for data collection of the ISA BPA, used to troubleshoot ISA Health Check itself.



This is the export configuration of the ISA Server. Consider this your backup if you never made one, here it goes.



NEW on BPA7 – this is the export of the Application log in EVT format.


Only errors events (windows event viewer events) in CSV format.


Only ISA errors events logged in windows event viewer.


NEW on BPA7 – this is the export of the System log in EVT format.



Log for data collection of the ISA Info, used to troubleshoot ISA Info itself.


ISAInfo file that you can open using ISA Info tool from ISA Tools .org.



Firewall Logging in CSV format.


Web Proxy Logging in CSV format.



Files used by Microsoft CSS Engineers only since they require internal symbols to parse it.




Network Capture from the external interface. Correct, you don’t need to start netmon separately when using ISA Data Packager.


Network Capture from the Internal interface.


Note1: amount of files and folders will vary according to the template that you choose.

Note 2: file name will vary according to the date of the day.


4. Conclusion


With this set of data you have enough data to start troubleshooting the issue that you are facing with ISA Server. You have logs, network captures and capability to read ISA Server configuration. My recommendation is that you install this tool in your lab, and start to test simple scenarios so you get used to read those logs. Try to simulate simple issues in your lab and look the logs to see what you can do to fix the issue.


Comments (5)
  1. Anonymous says:

    1. Introduction When we think that we had covered all scenarios to mitigate possible issues with change

  2. amazing of the most detailed blog posts ever!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Background: I recently had a case where web proxy clients were randomly being prompted for credentials

  4. Anonymous says:

    One of the really nice things about supporting ISA/TMG is that there are so many tools to assist us when

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